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CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript: Ukraine


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SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: You just visited Ukraine and a delegation of bipartisan senators led by John McCain. Do you think these sanctions go far enough?

BARRASSO: It is a good first step, Carol. Vladimir Putin only respects strength and power. And I don't think he has made a final decision about what he is going to do. He's continuing to calculate the credibility of the opposition by the United States and our partners around the world to his actions. He continues to have troops lining the border of eastern Ukraine and I believe he is ready to pounce if he sees the opportunity to do so.

COSTELLO: But that sort of seems like what he's doing right now. Because the Russian troops certainly aren't retreating from Crimea. They are overtaking some gas facilities. So they seem to be settling in.

BARRASSO: Well that's exactly right. The first thing they did even before the vote while we were still in Ukraine Saturday night, they seized a gas facility in southern Ukraine. There were riots in the streets in Donetsk which I believe were agitated by Russian thugs who came in there so then Putin could move troops in to say he was there to keep the peace. There are Marines from the Ukraine still surrounded in the Crimea, in Feodosia, 600 who potentially could be massacred by the Russians. Putin I believe is still making calculations on a daily basis. We need to continue to up the price of his activities through additional pressures, economic sanctions and anything else we can do to bring world pressure and specifically with our support for the people of the Ukraine.

COSTELLO: So if Vladimir Putin continues, right, he progresses in Ukraine, what is the next step for the United States besides sanctions? Would it be arming the military in Ukraine? Would it be money? Would it be something else?

BARRASSO: Talking with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk while we were there, he absolutely needs help rebuilding the military. Yanukovych, the former president, has weakened the military to the point the Prime Minister said, we don't have anything that runs, that shoots or that flies. So they're going to need specific help in rebuilding their military strength and specifically along that eastern border between Ukraine and Russia and we should be part of that solution.

COSTELLO: Senator John Barrasso thank you so much for being with me this morning. I appreciate it.

BARRASSO: Thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


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